Table of contents for December 2023 in Kiplinger's Personal Finance (2024)

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Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Kiplinger.COM→ Save on Vacation Rentals It’s not too early to start thinking about your summer trip—or a late-winter getaway. Use these tips to save money on rental properties. kiplinger.com/kpf/vacationproperties → Little-Known, Tax-Free Way to Help Pay Student Loans After a long pause, repayments are back. The Kiplinger tax team wants to remind you of a tax-free way to help with those payments. kiplinger.com/tax-student-loan → What Members Think of Medicare Advantage As the Medicare open-enrollment period comes to a close, take a look at what Medicare Advantage members think about the plans. kiplinger.com/kpf/medicare Kiplinger TODAY Profit from the best of Kiplinger delivered to your e-mail inbox every weekday. Sign up for our Kiplinger Today e-newsletter at kiplinger.com/links/ktoday. FACEBOOK: KiplingerPersonalFinance X (formerly Twitter): @Kiplinger INSTAGRAM: @KiplingerFinance…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023YOU’LL SPEND LESS TO STAY WARM THIS WINTERUNLESS you live in the Sunbelt, the arrival of winter brings a seasonal question as you plan your monthly budget: How much will you spend keeping your home warm? The answer varies, depending on everything from how severe the season ends up being to what energy source you use to keep warm to how well insulated your home is. But even setting all those variables aside, it’s possible to get a preview of how onerous your heating bills are likely to be this winter. The good news: Most consumers are likely to start winter paying at least somewhat lower prices for each unit of energy they buy. Natural gas is the most widely used heating fuel in the U.S., keeping about half of American houses warm. After a big spike…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023A TROUBLING TREND IN THE PERSONAL SAVING RATEALTHOUGH unemployment remains low and inflation is showing signs of easing, one economic data point is worrying to many economists: the personal saving rate. In August, the personal saving rate, which is the amount of disposable income Americans have left each month after they’ve paid their bills and taxes, was 3.9%—up slightly from July but down from 4.7% in May. During April of 2020, when the pandemic led to a nationwide lockdown, the personal saving rate soared to more than 30%. That didn’t last, but the rate remained above 9% through August 2021 (see the chart below). Since then, though, the saving rate has been falling fairly rapidly. An analysis by researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimates that Americans’ excess savings have tumbled to less than…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023A New Way to Mail Cash Gifts→ Thanks to a collaboration between retailer Hallmark and peer-to-peer payment app Venmo, you can pair a digital monetary gift with a physical greeting card, reducing the risk of theft or loss that comes with sending paper cash or a check in the mail. Here’s how it works: At Hallmark.com, Hallmark Gold Crown stores or other select retailers (including CVS and Walgreens), you choose a $5 greeting card from an assortment of themes, such as celebrating a holiday, wedding or birthday. You use your phone’s camera to scan a Venmo QR code that appears in the card, which opens the Venmo app on your phone (make sure you download the app and sign up for an account first, if you don’t have one already). Then you select a recipient—you’ll need…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Bye-Bye Mutual Fund, Hello ETFIN a world where the cost of everything seems to be rising painfully, here’s a little good news for investors: A growing number of mutual funds are converting to exchange-traded funds and cutting their fees. More than 60 mutual funds, managing a combined $55 billion, have turned themselves into ETFs in the two years since this trend started, according to data provided by FactSet Research Systems. Recently converted ETFs include Dimensional US Core Equity 2 (symbol DFAC), which has more than $20 billion in assets; JPMorgan International Research Enhanced Equity (JIRE), with more than $5 billion; and Fidelity Disruptive Automation (FBOT), with more than $100 million. On average, the converted ETFs are charging investors fees that are almost a quarter of a percentage point less than they charged as mutual…5 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Rough Seas for Small StocksSMALL-company stocks, unlike their large-company counterparts, never convincingly moved out of bear-market territory. Over the past 12 months, the S&P 500, a large-company index, soared 21.6%, while the Russell 2000 small-company index eked out a slimmer, 8.9% return. T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Value gained even less, with a 3.7% return over the past year. The fund’s value focus has been a drag, at least since the start of 2023, as value-priced, small-company stocks have lagged their “growthier” counterparts. Manager David Wagner looks for value-priced stocks in small firms that are well managed, profitable, have little debt and boast solid revenue growth. Over the past 12 months, the fund’s 7% stake in energy—above average for small-company funds focused on value—was a boon; energy was the top-performing small-company sector over the past…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Set Your Tipping StrategyThe holiday season presents an opportunity to show your appreciation for a year’s worth of services from providers you use regularly—particularly those who work in and around your home. Consider budgeting for tips as you would for holiday gifting. For providers who often work in groups, such as gardeners or cleaning people, a year-end tip of $20 to $50 per person is appropriate. If just one person provides such services for you, the cost of one session or one week’s work is an acceptable tip. For a newspaper delivery person, grocery delivery person, or trash and recycling collector, set aside a tip of $10 to $30. United States Postal Service carriers can’t accept cash, but they may receive gifts with a value of up to $20. For a dog walker,…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023When Can You Toss Tax Files?AS you review your yearend financial checklist, you may find yourself going through paperwork—and wondering when you can toss old tax records. The answer depends on the type of document and the kinds of transactions you engage in. Generally, you should keep each tax return and its supporting documents for at least three years from the return’s due date. That’s usually how long the IRS has to question items on your return and to bill you for any additional tax. It’s also generally the time frame to file an amended return to seek a refund. However, the IRS can go back up to six years if your return omits more than 25% of income. And if fraud is proved, there is no limit. Also, you may have to retain your…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Medigap Or Medicare Advantage?MEDIGAP How it works: Medigap is a private insurance policy designed to supplement original Medicare, so you’ll still be required to pay Part B premiums. The policy will reimburse you for out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and co-pays. Cost: Premiums range from as little as $40 to as much as $400 a month, depending on the plan you choose and the amount of coverage you receive. Choice of physicians: Any doctor that accepts Medicare. Prescription drugs: Not covered; beneficiaries usually sign up for a separate Part D plan. Dental and vision: Not covered by most medigap plans. Cap on out-of-pocket expenses: Depends on the plan; some have no cap. Enrollment period: Six-month period starting the first day of the month that you’re both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023More Love for the GrandkidsTHANKS to all of you who shared your thoughts in response to my column on the joys of grandchildren (see “Living in Retirement,” Sept.). Your experiences were as varied as the ages of your grandkids, but you all had one common reaction, as summed up by reader James Black: “Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. We have been blessed with three grandbabies, ages 2½, 1½ and 1, and it’s amazing how your world stops spinning when they are in it.” One thing that struck me was the different ways in which many of you have chosen to weave finances into the upbringing of your grandchildren. Last summer, for example, Black and his wife, Vickie, rented a beach house for a visit from their kids and grandkids. “We cherished…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023LettersTIPPING TACTICS The article “To Tip or Not to Tip?” (Oct.) has some useful advice and insights. As a career bartender, I am extremely grateful for gratuities, and I always go the extra mile to earn them. It usually pays off with higher-than-average tips. I find it tricky when I get fast food or carryout. On the one hand, I’m in the same business as the workers at these establishments. On the other, I do much more guest interaction and service to earn the tip. And in the restaurant business, servers are generally paid lower wages than counter-service workers. D.G., via e-mail Your article included no mention of a tipping aspect that drives me crazy. I feel it is entirely inappropriate to ask for a tip before the service is…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023How to Save Money on GasRemove unnecessary items in your trunk, backseat or truck bed. They can add weight to your vehicle, and hauling more weight requires more gas. Unload your golf clubs (unless you’re headed to the course) and those boxes of books you’ve been meaning to donate. Do you have a roof rack? Removing it when not in use will also reduce your vehicle’s weight—and your gas bill. Combine your trips. You’ll save fuel even if you have to go in multiple directions because all non-electric cars use more fuel when the engine is cold. The fewer times you need to bring the engine up to temperature, the better. Cold starts aren’t good for your car, either. Don’t idle. Leaving your car running while you dash into the house to get something you…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023DECEMBER 20231 You have until December 31 to take your required minimum distribution from your traditional IRA or 401(k) if you’re 73 or older (starting in 2033, RMDs will begin at age 75). Contact your provider now to make sure your transaction is processed before the deadline. The penalty for failing to take an RMD is 25% of the amount you should have withdrawn. 7 Today is the final day of Medicare open enrollment for those 65 or older, and it’s your last chance to join, switch or drop a Medicare Part D plan, which covers prescription drugs. You can also join or switch an original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan during this open-enrollment period. For more on enrolling in Medicare and supplemental plans, see page 52. 18 New Year’s Day…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Regulators Target Short-Term Health PlansThe Biden administration wants to curtail access to short-term health plans. A draft rule would limit the duration of such plans to four months and would prevent consumers from buying another short-term insurance plan from the same carrier in the same calendar year; however, they would still be able to purchase different short-term plans consecutively for up to 36 months. This would essentially involve restoring several Obama-era regulations that were rolled back by the Trump administration. Under Trump, consumers could retain short-term plans for a year and renew them for up to three years. Short-term plans are often cheaper than Obamacare-compliant ones, and they serve as a stopgap option for people who are between jobs or self-employed. But they also come with drawbacks, such as excluding folks with preexisting conditions…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Should You Buy Bonds Now?THE interest rate environment changed dramatically—and quickly. So is now the time to add bonds to your port-folio? It’s not an easy call. First, a little history. For a decade or so, owning bonds with maturities of five, 10 or 20 years made little sense. For the 10 years ending in June 2022, the yield on a 10-year Treasury was nearly always less than 3%—well below that of the stocks of the Dow Jones industrial average. Even investment-grade corporate bonds were paying paltry interest. In March 2020, as COVID-19 swept the world, economies slowed drastically, and investors stampeded for safety. The 10-year Treasury briefly touched an all-time low yield of 0.32%. Since then, businesses and individuals started to borrow again, government deficits soared, and inflation reared its ugly head. To…5 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023My Blueprint for an Energy PortfolioNORMALLY, I prioritize yield and capital preservation over price appreciation, but energy is the exceptional area where you can aspire for all three. There is more to the sector than market-timing oil and gas prices or guessing about the next giant discovery. And it offers many pathways to profit from the $4 trillion spent annually around the world on refined petroleum products and natural gas, as well as the copious sums spent on processing, handling and marketing fuels. There are solid reasons why oil and gas prices will remain high and supplies tight as demand stays strong, which is why the sector is up this year despite economic headwinds and rising interest rates. The exchange-traded fund Energy Select Sector SPDR (symbol XLE) has returned 6.1% through September, following a 53%…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023TAKING THE MIDDLE ROADFAST-GROWING, small-company stocks are notoriously volatile. Large-cap growth stocks are expensive and can struggle to maintain rapid growth rates. For investors looking for long-term growth with less drama, midsize firms can be a solution. More than 1,000 public companies have a stock market value from $2 billion to $10 billion, meeting the most common definition of mid cap. Half of the 30-stock portfolio of Baron Focused Growth Fund consists of mid-cap stocks; the rest is roughly split between shares of large and small firms. Fund comanager David Baron says investors are “overly pessimistic” about mid caps, overlooking companies the fund’s managers like to invest in for the long term: those with pricing power, strong balance sheets and great growth prospects. A recent addition is On Holding AG, a Swiss running-shoe…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Ask for a Pay BoostAn end-of-the-year performance review can be a good starting point to negotiate a pay raise. A study from Payscale, a provider of compensation data, found that U.S. employers are budgeting for an average salary increase of 3.8% in 2024. Use these tips to negotiate your salary. Find out whether your pay is fair. Job-search websites such as Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com list salary estimates for various industries. Along with salaries, compare total compensation packages as well—especially the ones that your employer’s competitors offer. Show your value. Explain the value that you bring to your employer. You can, for instance, provide past examples of problems you solved, ways that you saved your employer money or comments from customers who were pleased with your work. Avoid ultimatums. If you threaten to quit if…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023USE A GRACE PERIOD TO YOUR ADVANTAGETIS the season that many shoppers are charging more than usual on their credit cards—and potentially racking up interest charges on their balances, too. Paying credit card interest is more painful than it was just a couple of years ago. Since early 2022, the Federal Reserve has lifted short-term interest rates from near 0% to a recent range of 5.25% to 5.5%. As a result, credit card rates have jumped, too, reaching an average of more than 20%, according to the Fed. One way to avoid paying interest is to take advantage of a credit card’s grace period—the time between the end of a billing cycle, when your statement is made available to you, and your payment due date for that cycle. (Credit cards aren’t required to offer a grace…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Medicare ABCs (and Ds)Part A: Covers inpatient care at hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, as well as hospice and some home health care. If you paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 40 calendar quarters, the premium is free. Part B: Covers doctor visits, outpatient care and some home health care. For 2023, the base premium is $164.90 per month; high-income beneficiaries pay a surcharge ranging from $230.80 to $560.50. Part C: Another term for Medicare Advantage, a bundled plan from private insurers that includes Part A, Part B and usually Part D. Beneficiaries pay Part B premiums. Some plans charge a modest premium—averaging $18 a month in 2023—but many beneficiaries pay no premium. Part D: Stand-alone prescription-drug coverage through private insurers. (If your Advantage plan includes prescription drugs, you don’t need Part…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023PROFIT FROM SECTOR SWINGSJUST as we put aside shorts and swimsuits to make way for sweaters and wool socks as the weather cools, there are times to favor certain stock sectors over others. But instead of a change in seasons, the trigger for stock-sector investing is the business cycle as it moves from bust to boom to bust. The investing strategy is called sector rotation. It involves shifting investments to certain industries in anticipation of the next stage of the economic cycle. “The business cycle plays a big role in how markets operate,” says Omar Aguilar, chief executive and chief investment officer of Schwab Asset Management. History has shown that as the economy moves through its predictable sequences, particular sectors tend to do better than others at certain junctures along the way. Generally,…6 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023The Benefits of a TrustAFTER you pass away, your family may have to contend with probate, in which a court reviews and distributes your assets. Once any taxes or debts on your property are paid off, your beneficiaries receive the remaining assets. The process can be lengthy and expensive (especially if you didn’t leave behind a will), and the details become part of the public record. If you want to simplify and privatize the process of passing on assets to your loved ones, consider putting the property in a revocable trust. “When a trust owns or has title to assets, those assets are considered to be outside of the probate estate, meaning they will pass to the designated recipient without the need of court oversight or control,” says David DuFault, an estate attorney and…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023How to Research a CharityBefore you give money to a charity, do some research to find out how it uses its funds. Several resources make it easy to check out the charity’s mission and finances, such as Give.org, which is run by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and CharityNavigator.org. You can look up the nonprofit’s IRS Form 990, which shows its income and expenses and a summary of activities for the year, at www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/search-for-tax-exempt-organizations. GuideStar is one of the best resources, but you need a subscription to obtain in-depth financial information about nonprofits (information on a charity’s assets and gross receipts is free). Donor-advised funds often provide access to this database. Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable both work with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to provide a list of vetted 501(c)3 charities…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Finishing the Year StrongAS 2023 winds down, we’ve packed this issue with strategies to bring the year to a sound financial close and start off on the right foot in 2024. The cover story, which starts on page 40, is dedicated to the topic. Some of the actions we recommend are tied firmly to a year-end deadline—among them, topping off your 2023 401(k) contributions or taking required minimum distributions from tax-deferred retirement accounts. Other moves are smart to make as the sun sets on 2023 regardless of whether you’re up against the clock. After a good year for stocks, for instance, your investment portfolio’s balance of stocks and bonds may have strayed from your desired asset allocation, so it’s wise to revisit your asset mix and consider adjustments. And we offer a host…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023CONFRONTING STEREOTYPES ABOUT AGINGBy 2034, Americans 65 and older will outnumber children younger than 18. Yet older adults still face ageism, from the job market to how they’re portrayed in movies and on TV. How can older adults and their advocates push back? At any age, all of us need to learn about ageism and understand that it isn’t just a matter of a few bad actors. It’s baked into the media, popular story lines, the movies, even in birthday cards about older people. We’re surrounded by it and we internalize it. Reaching out to other generations and talking to people who are different ages than you, whether at work or outside of it, are really effective ways to address ageism. Sitting down and having coffee together can help us see each other…3 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023SHOPPING FOR A CAR? THERE’S GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS→ Lately, car buyers are seeing some relief as car prices stabilize, following significant increases in 2021 and 2022. The most recent data from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) shows that in August, average new-car transaction prices were down 2.4% from the start of the year. New cars sold for an average $48,451, an increase of just $42 from the same time in 2022. Although the United Auto Workers went on strike in mid September, the impact on car prices may be limited, unless the strike drags on for an extended period and hampers new-vehicle supply, according to Cox Automotive, which owns Kelley Blue Book. The average price of a used car was $26,251 in August, a slight decrease from the previous month. Although prices are no longer rising rapidly, car…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023MEDICAL DEBTS MAY COME OFF OF CREDIT REPORTS→ The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is contemplating rules that would eliminate medical debt from consumers’ credit reports. If finalized, the proposed rules would prohibit credit bureaus from reporting medical debts on credit reports, stop creditors from using medical collections information when evaluating a borrower’s credit application, and prevent coercive collection practices by debt collectors. As the CFPB considers the rules, it is reviewing information the public has submitted on medical billing practices. You can submit complaints related to credit reporting or debt collection at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint. Rule changes that went into effect in 2022 and 2023 limit the types of medical debt information that may appear on credit reports. Medical collection accounts of less than $500 as well as those that are paid off are no longer included, and the…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023TREAD CAREFULLY WITH IPOsDO you let hope triumph over experience in your love life? Go for it. But in your investment portfolio? That’s where you need to harden your heart. Nowhere is the conflict between hope and experience starker than the market for initial public offerings, or IPOs. The possibility of getting in on the ground floor of a young company is enticing. And for some of the lucky few who are given allotments of shares at the official starting price, a first-day IPO “pop” in share prices can create instant profits. Adding to the excitement: 2023 has been great for recent IPOs. The Renaissance IPO exchange-traded fund, which tracks new listings of stocks that have raised at least $100 million over the past three years, has returned 29% so far this year,…8 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023MAKE THESE MONEY MOVES NOWADJUST YOUR PORTFOLIO Rebalance your holdings. Say you started the year with a $100,000 investment portfolio that had a preferred allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. You’d now be closer to a 63%–37% mix after a good year for stocks and a disappointing one for fixed income. (Prices, returns and other data are through September 30 unless otherwise noted.) To get back to your desired allocation, you’d have to lighten up on stocks and add to bonds. But you might want to wait until your assets have moved significantly from your target before rebalancing—say, five percentage points or more, especially if they are held in a taxable account. Consider the tips that follow as you do. Diversify your assets. Holding an array of assets ensures that losses in one…14 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Get the Most From Your Health BenefitsUse FSA money. If you have a health care flexible spending account—an employer-provided benefit that allows you to stash away pretax money for qualified medical expenses—you may have a December 31 deadline to use up your 2023 funds. (Some plans offer a grace period until March 15 of the following year to claim funds, and some others let you roll over a certain amount to the following plan year; the IRS allows a maximum $610 rollover from 2023 to 2024 plans.) You can use FSA money for a range of expenses, including insurance co-payments and deductibles; prescription drugs; medical devices such as hearing aids, blood-pressure monitors and canes; over-the-counter drugs including pain relievers, cough suppressants and allergy medicine; and prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. See a list of eligible items…2 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023NAVIGATING MEDICARE ENROLLMENTWHEN it comes to Medicare, one of your most important tools may be a calendar, ideally one with electronic reminders. If you miss an enrollment deadline, you could face gaps in coverage, limitations on your choice of supplemental plans and, in the worst-case scenario, lifetime late-enrollment penalties. Enrolling in Medicare used to be fairly straightforward—and for some retirees, it still is. If you receive Social Security benefits for at least four months before your 65th birthday, you get a Medicare card in the mail and are eligible for benefits on the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first day of the month, benefits will start the first day of the previous month. But these days, many retirees are delaying Social Security past…11 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023Understanding Medicare Enrollment PeriodsInitial: The seven-month period that starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your birthday month. Special: The eight-month period that starts after you lose health insurance through your employer (or your spouse’s employer). Open (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7): You can switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (or vice versa), or switch Medicare Advantage or Part D plans. General (Jan. 1 to March 31): If you didn’t sign up for Part B during initial enrollment and don’t qualify for special enrollment, this is when you’re allowed to sign up. Coverage will begin the first of the month after you enroll, and you may face late-enrollment penalties. Medicare Advantage (Jan. 1 to March 31): If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan,…1 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023SAVING FOR COLLEGE AND RETIREMENTIF you’re raising kids, you may feel squeezed as you save for both your own retirement and your children’s college expenses. Plus, there’s the pressure that comes with staying on top of your other financial obligations, from paying the mortgage to covering the cost of extracurricular activities. If your children are getting close to entering college or are already there, the balancing act can feel especially precarious. Many members of Generation X, who are now in their mid-to-late forties and fifties, fall squarely in the group of parents who are making the final push toward paying for college while making sure their retirement accounts are adequately funded, too. And they face their share of challenges. According to the Education Data Initiative, Generation X college graduates have the highest student loan…5 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023TAX-SMART WAYS TO GIVE TO CHARITYCHARITABLE giving has long had dual benefits: It’s a great way to support causes you care about, and you can also receive valuable tax breaks. But it became much more difficult to reap the tax benefits after the standard deduction nearly doubled in 2018, causing the number of people who itemized their deductions to plummet. If you don’t itemize, you generally can’t deduct your charitable contributions. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act introduced a temporary charitable deduction for nonitemizers who made cash contributions in 2020 and 2021. But even that modest break (which topped out at $600 for married individuals filing a joint return) went away in 2022. You now need to make more of an effort to get a tax benefit for your charitable gifts. But…12 min
Kiplinger's Personal Finance|December 2023THIS GROUP PACKS LEARNING INTO TRAVEL ADVENTURESWhat is Road Scholar? We’re a not-for-profit organization with a mission to encourage older adults to learn, travel and explore through the educational trips we organize. We take care of all the details so that travelers can immerse themselves in the experience. We offer excursions in nearly all U.S. states and in more than 100 countries. For example, you can learn about the evolution of indigenous cuisine from chefs in Santa Fe, N.M., witness the migration of gray whales to Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, or explore a wilderness sanctuary near Jaipur, India. Who can go on a trip with Road Scholar? Any adult over age 50. We also have programs for grandparents and grandchildren to travel together, as well as trips designed for three generations of a family. What financial…3 min

As an expert in personal finance and financial planning, I have extensive knowledge and experience in various aspects of finance, including retirement planning, investment strategies, tax-efficient saving, and budgeting. I have a deep understanding of the topics covered in the Kiplinger's Personal Finance December 2023 issue, and I can provide comprehensive information related to these concepts.

Overview of Concepts in Kiplinger's Personal Finance December 2023 Issue

1. Saving on Vacation Rentals

  • Tips for saving money on rental properties for summer trips or late-winter getaways.
  • Strategies for finding affordable vacation rentals and getting the best deals.

2. Tax-Free Way to Help Pay Student Loans

  • Exploring a tax-free method to assist with student loan repayments after the resumption of repayments.

3. Medicare Advantage

  • Insights into what Medicare Advantage members think about the plans during the open-enrollment period.

4. Personal Saving Rate

  • Analysis of the personal saving rate and its implications for the economy and individual financial planning.

5. New Ways to Manage Finances

  • Collaboration between Hallmark and Venmo to facilitate digital monetary gifts with physical greeting cards.

6. Transition from Mutual Fund to ETF

  • Information about the transition of mutual funds to exchange-traded funds, focusing on cost reduction and fee management.

7. Small Stocks Performance

  • Assessment of the performance and trends in small-company stocks compared to large-cap stocks.

8. Tipping Strategy

  • Guidance on setting a tipping strategy for various service providers during the holiday season.

9. Financial Record Retention

  • Information on when to dispose of old tax records and the timeline for retaining different types of financial documents.

10. Medicare Options

  • Comparison between Medigap and Medicare Advantage, including coverage, costs, and enrollment periods.

11. Grandparenting and Financial Planning

  • Insights into financial aspects of grandparenting and the various ways in which grandparents support their grandchildren.

12. Tipping Etiquette

  • Addressing the nuances of tipping in different service industry scenarios and the considerations involved.

13. Savings on Gas

  • Tips for saving money on gas by optimizing vehicle weight, reducing idle time, and combining trips.

14. Year-End Financial Planning

  • Strategies for wrapping up the year on a sound financial note and preparing for the upcoming year.

15. Ageism and Stereotypes

  • Addressing ageism and stereotypes about aging and the need for intergenerational understanding and communication.

16. Car Buying Trends

  • Insights into trends and price stabilization in the automobile market, including new and used car pricing.

17. Medical Debt and Credit Reports

  • Potential rule changes related to medical debt reporting and its impact on consumers' credit reports.

18. Investment Strategies

  • Evaluating the investment opportunities and challenges associated with sector rotation and IPOs.

19. Financial Planning Tips

  • Recommendations for adjusting investment portfolios, health benefit utilization, and navigating Medicare enrollment periods.

20. Charitable Giving and Tax Benefits

  • Exploring tax-smart ways to give to charity and maximize the tax benefits of charitable contributions.

21. Educational Travel Adventures

  • Overview of Road Scholar, a not-for-profit organization offering educational travel programs for older adults and families.

These are the key concepts covered in the Kiplinger's Personal Finance December 2023 issue, and I can provide detailed information on any of these topics. If you have specific questions or need further details on any of these concepts, feel free to ask!

Table of contents for December 2023 in Kiplinger's Personal Finance (2024)

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